Saturday, June 30, 2012

June 30, 2012 - Hottest Day Ever, No Really!

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Today we broke an all time record in my town, not for the day or the month, but for the entire history that they have been keeping records.  We hit 106 today and it is 92 right now at 11pm.  When you add that we have had no rain in weeks and it is plain miserable for my garden. 

This was taken around 4pm from

This is right now, it is crazy.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Garden Harvests - June 27, 2012

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It was a great week of harvests from the garden.  I have finally started harvesting tomatoes, bell peppers, and eggplants.  It was a nice change of pace from the usual squash harvests.  Speaking of squash, they are hanging by a thread and I will pull the last of the plants this weekend.  I had my second big corn harvest this week too, so my harvest totals shot up pretty good.  I am over 150 pounds for the year and climbing.  

We are still in a severe drought where I live in Georgia with no rain in site.  Many parts of the state have been helped with the tropical storms that have passed through but none of it reached us, praying for rain. 

Squash, Bell Peppers, and Tomatoes
I have been picking my tomatoes at this stage and letting them finish ripening inside.  I am afraid of them getting messed up by animals or bugs.  That green one fell off the plant while picking the others.

Eggplant #1 weighed 1.24 pounds

Eggplant #2, this one was long and slim.

Eggplant #3, this one weighed 1.44 pounds and was beautiful.
The color, shape, and size were picture perfect.

Corn harvested this week

Brings the total to 85 pounds for the year

 Here are a few ears I plucked during the week and they went 
straight to a pot of boiling water.  The taste was spectacular.

Here is the current drought monitor for Georgia.
It is much better overall, but I live in that band of red crossing the state.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Georgia Home Garden Corn Harvest

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I spent this morning harvesting the last of the corn from my Spring plantings.  I have been cherry picking ears for dinner this week, but I spent a few hours prepping and freezing the rest of the peaches and cream corn.  I harvested 42 pounds in this batch, and it was a lot of work.  I did everything outside using my big turkey fryer and cooler as seen detailed in this post here.  This made short work of the blanching part, but it is so hot outside today and very humid.  I ended up with nine more gallon sized freezer bags to add to my stockpile.  It was a productive morning. 

 I filled my basket twice

Here is the same basket after shucking

Final product, nine bags of corn.

I did a good job cleaning the weeds out last week and
this is what I am left with.  It shouldn't be too much work
to turn this around and get some peas in the ground and......

....I have already got my next batch of corn sprouting.
This is Silver Queen in one of my 4x4 raised beds.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Garden Update - June 20, 2012

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It has been over a month since my last full garden update, therefore I have a lot of pictures and a lot of progress in the garden to report.  

Here is an overall picture of the raised bed garden area.

Bed Number 1 
We will start with tomatoes, here are four of my nine tomato plants.  All of my tomatoes are doing pretty good except my Romas. They have some kind of worm that is boring a hole inside them.  It is a small worm that looks kind of like a mill worm.  I have had to pull about a dozen tomatoes and I am going to spray my plants with Sevin.  This will be the first time this year I have had to resort to chemicals.  I am not 100% organic, but I try to limit my use of pesticides.

Here is a close up of one of the other varieties, I think this is a Better Boy plant.
 Bed Number 2
Here I have two more tomato plants and I had two squash plants.  I had to pull the squash plants this week because they were eaten up with SVBs.  I haven't decided what to put in those two empty squares yet.

Bed Number 3
This was my lettuce and spinach bed.  I cleaned it out this week and planted some Silver Queen Corn.  I am curious to see how much corn I can squeeze out of this 4x4 foot bed.  Those are my two habanero plants in the background.

Bed Number 4
This is my bell pepper and eggplant bed.  I have been impressed with how well these are doing so far.  The eggplants are like trees they are so big.  The bell peppers are loaded with peppers too.

Here is a close up from one of the bell peppers.
I have four of these California Bell Pepper plants.

 Here is a close up of a nice eggplant.
I also have four of these Black Beauty eggplants.

 Bed Number 5
These are my butter beans and man do these things grow fast.  This variety is called Cangreen Lima and it is a bush variety.  These were barely germinating less than a month ago and now look at them.  They are just starting to flower.

Bed Number 6
Here are my last 8 squash plants.  They are pretty much done and beaten up, between the SVBs in their stems and the powdery mildew that covers their leaves I am surprised they are still producing at all.  

Here is a shot of my corn and peas in my traditional garden.  My WEED FREE traditional garden.  I spent a lot of time last week in between that corn to get all the weeds out.  This second batch of corn will be ready for harvest in about 10 days.  Hopefully the weeding will pay off when I am ready to replant.

Here are my zipper cream peas that are planted next to the corn.  You can barely see them, but there are six rows of peas.  I will say the germination rate on these zipper creams was awful.  I have huge gaps in the rows and manually filled in the gaps this week.  I hope those germinate so I can have nice full rows of peas.  I don't know if the seed was bad or what but I was disappointed.  The seeds were packaged for 2011 so who knows.

Last but not least, my peppers in the coca cola planter, jalapenos and Hungarian wax peppers.  These have struggled and been very slow to grow.  The leaves were yellow and not very green.  I hit them with some nitrogen fertilzer and they have started to perk up and look beter.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Garden Harvests - June 18, 2012

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This week brought some variety to my garden harvests.  I harvested the first tomatoes, eggplant, bell pepper, and jalapenos of the year.  The last of the lettuce was harvested and the squash plants have slowed down.  The SVBs have taken out two of my squash plants and the eight remaining plants are covered in powdery mildew.  I am almost to my 30 pound goal of squash put away in the freezer.  I was hoping for more since I had 10 plants, but what can you do.

Squash, tomatoes, and eggplant
I forgot to take a picture of the bell pepper and jalapenos

Last lettuce of the of spring

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Father's Day Garden Gifts

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My daughter is five and she has been so excited to give me my father's day presents.  All week you could tell it was killing her to keep the secret of what she got me.  So finally tonight before bed she asked again, "Daddy, are you sure you don't want to know what I got you for father's day?"  How could I resist, sure I told her.

I was so amazed and touched by how simple and thoughtful her gifts were.  Almost all of them were things she knew I could use in the garden.  It reminded me how thoughtful and genuine children are.

My favorite gift is a butterfly garden decoration, it is one of those metal ones that looks cool when it spins around.  She got me a couple packs of pumpkin seeds because she knew I would like seeds and she knew I didn't have pumpkins.  She also got me a veggie tales gardening pack complete with garden tools and a new pair of gardening gloves. Last but not least, she got me an angry bird stuffed animal.

While writing this blog post, my mind wandered thinking about the memories of the last five years.  I can't believe how fast she has grown up and that she is getting ready to start kindergarten in a few months.  It seems like yesterday she was 3 and we were starting our first garden together.

I know there are a lot of father/daughter songs that have been written about the bond of a father and daughter, but the one that gets me every time is Tim McGraw's "My Little Girl."  That song was on the radio right after my daughter was born and maybe that is why I like it so much.  I have included it below along with pictures of my father's day gifts.......I love you baby girl.



Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mailbox Flowers Update - Zinnias and Our First Sunflower

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This year we planted white zinnias and sunflowers around our mail box.  An odd combination for sure, but I promised my daughter the biggest and tallest flowers and giant sunflowers fit the bill.

Well this week we got our first sunflower, it is over 8 feet tall with a bloom a foot wide.  It is a show piece, and I do get a lot of comments from people when they walk through the neighborhood.  They ask why did you plant those around your mailbox when they grow so big, and I say why not?

My daughter is so excited about this beauty
This was the first day it opened

Here is the flower a few days later.
You can see the center starting to fill in.

The poor zinnias really don't have a chance 
competing with these huge sunflowers.

There are still some beautiful zinnias though.
This is the best so far, nice and puffy.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Garden Harvests - June 11, 2012

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The last of the corn was harvested this week.
I ate fresh corn for dinner a few times this week.

Here are a few more bags ready for the freezer.

Last big batch of peaches and cream corn
Final total from first planting was around 50 pounds.

Here is over eight pounds of squash harvested this week.

This is the amount of squash I pick daily.
We have harvested 25 pounds so far.

Last but not least, a few field peas that were mixed in among the corn.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Planting My Field Peas, What a Job!

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I spent Friday night and Saturday morning planting my first batch of field peas.  I decided to plant Zipper Creams and I am so glad to be done.  I let the weeds in my first batch of corn get out of control.  It was a very tough job getting the area prepped so I could replant my peas.

I started by cutting the weeds with my lawnmower on a high setting.  I then used my small tiller to make several passes and break out the weeds.  It was a tedious process of tilling, raking, and repeating until most of the weeds were gone.

As a side note, the tiller I have is actually a tiller attachment that connects to my weedeater.  It worked pretty good, the only complaint I have is that the tines are kind of small and kept getting tangled with weeds. I had to stop several times to clear the tines of debris.  I wish I had a big boy tiller, but this attachment was only $89 bucks and I didn't want to shell out a lot of money for a full size tiller.  I also like it because I can use it easily to get in between rows to weed.

Once I got everything ready, I planted 150 feet of zipper creams using my Earthway precision garden seeder.  I am so glad I have this, while prepping was a nightmare planting the seed was effortless using my seeder.  Once the seeds sprout I am going to lay weed fabric between the rows to prevent the weeds from getting out of control.

Here is what it looked like after I harvested all the corn.
A big time mess with the remaining corn in the background.

Close up of the weed jungle.
It is no wonder my corn yields suffered.

This is after I ran over it with my mower.

After several passes with the tiller and raking the weeds out.

Finished project with six rows of seed planted.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I Have a Pepper Killer In The Garden

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So I am having a great evening in the garden, it is a typical night.  I ate dinner and then went out back to water and harvest whatever is ready.  I take a look at my Coca Cola cooler pepper bed and I notice that 3 of my 5 Hungarian Wax Peppers are stripped to the bone.  There is nothing left but stem and a few peppers.

So I am standing there and trying to figure out what could have caused this and then I look closer and on one of the peppers is a huge green horn worm.  I don't know if it was a tomato or tobacco hornworm, but this guy destroyed three of my pepper plants in one day.  Needless to say I was brutally ruthless in getting rid of him.

I am worried the peppers won't survive, but worse I am afraid of getting horn worms in my actual tomatoes.  I can't really figure out how it got in my peppers because the cooler is pretty tall.  I will have to keep a closer eye on everything.

Look at the peppers in the lower right hand corner.
Can you see him in this picture?

Close up of some of his handy work.

Here he is going to town.